Heyzap, the Y Combinator startup that offers an easily-embedded widget containing thousands of Flash games, is launching a major new product today that introduces the company to an entirely new source of revenue. Dubbed HeyZap Payments, the platform offers developers a way to easily integrate a microtransaction system into their games, which could be a boon for both developers and Heyzap alike.
Up until now one of the problems plaguing small-time Flash game developers has been monetization. These games are often ripped from the sites from which they originated, so aside from ads that are integrated into the games, developers haven’t had many good ways to generate revenue. Heyzap Payments may help change this: regardless of where a Flash game is embedded, its developer will be compensated for any in-game purchases through the HeyZap platform. Co-Founder Immad Akhund says that the platform is extremely easy for developers to integrate, with a “drop-in” set of code (he says it shoud require about as much effort as integrating Google Analytics would).
Once integrated, users will be able to buy a currency called Heyzap coins, which can be used with any game that has implemented the system. Gamers can acquire points either through Offers (surveys, etc.), Credit Cards, Paypal, or via billing to their cell phone. Points and game saves can be tied to both Facebook Connect and Twitter accounts, allowing the platform to keep track of the goods you’ve purchased in various games.
Heyzap is offering a 50/50 revenue share for developers, and will also allow publishers to receive a cut for embedding games. It’s also offering a $50 bonus to any developers who sign up as a means to jumpstart the program.
Given the addictive nature of many Flash games out there, this is a great idea, and established casual gaming companies like Zynga have proven how lucrative in-game microtransactions can really be. However, there are still a few obstacles Heyzap will have to overcome. The platform may be easy to integrate, but developers will still have to come up with in-game items or bonuses that users would be willing to actually pay for, so the process won’t exactly be painless. That said, many games already have logical places to implement payments (like in-game stores), so this may not prove to be much of a deterrent.
If this sounds famililar, it’s probably because Mochi Media is also launching a similar product that allows developers to integrate payments into their Flash games. Akhund ackowledges that for the time being the products are pretty similar, though he says that Heyzap has a streamlined integration procedure (he says Mochi is more involved) and also points out the $50 incentive being offered to developers, which may be enough to get them to choose Heyzap over Mochi.
If you’d like to try out the payments for yourself, check out the demo game below.